Gold Ridge Mining Ltd sponsorship has been a crucial factor in the Solomon Islands Rugby Sevens Squad recent participation in the Oceania Sevens Championship in Samoa.

SIRUF President Frank Wickham said without the level of support or sponsorship from companies like Gold Ridge Mining Ltd, SIRUF would not have been able to send teams on tour.

"Its expensive sending teams on tours, so to get a major sponsor like Gold Ridge for our national sevens team is a big boost for SIRUF."

Mr Wickham says that SIRUF is deeply grateful that Gold Ridge Mining Ltd has basically enabled Solomon Islands rugby to take part in two major regional competitions during the year.

Mr Wickham described such tours as an important component for Solomon's rugby to generate more interest in the sevens code throughout the country but also advance its performance externally.

"We recognise that Solomon's rugby has the necessary components to be competitive in the sevens code so we are looking at developing and promoting this game more in the country" Mr Wickham said, "at the same time we are trying to maintain a consistent level of participation in regional competitions to develop the capacity of our squads."

Mr Wickham explained that the recent Oceania Championship in Samoa is only the third time Solomon Islands has been in an IRB competition, Solomon Islands were in the same pool as Australia, Samoa, Cook Islands and Niue all of which have been part of the IRB 7's circuit.

"Our loss to Australia by 33-10 was a good start and one which the boys can be proud of," Wickham said "while we have not won any of our games the feedback has been valuable in helping us get a sense of our standard of play and the areas we need to work on"

He said "there seems to be general feedback from other countries that we are skilled but need to improve in technical areas and obviously need more regional match experience to really be able to capitalise on the talent we have."

In the meantime the fifteens squad are preparing for the Oceania Cup to be hosted by PNG at the end of this month.

Source: Press Release, SIRUF